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Blunt puts hold on EPA nomination

  |   March 18, 2013 at 7:55 PM
WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Monday he had placed a hold on the nomination of Gina McCarthy as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Blunt said he was blocking McCarthy's appointment, which requires Senate confirmation, until the Obama administration announces a timeline for releasing a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid floodway project in southeastern Missouri.

Blunt said in a release posted on his official website the EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to meet a Friday deadline for providing an update on efforts to resolve disputes delaying a final decision on the project. The three agencies had agreed to the deadline, he said, at a Feb. 27 meeting he and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had arranged five months after the Corps of Engineers canceled a scheduled public presentation on the plan.

Blunt said he and McCaskill were told there still was no timeline for releasing the draft impact statement.

"Once again, the government is arguing with the government while nothing is accomplished," Blunt said. "These agencies missed their own self-imposed deadline, which is entirely unacceptable. That's why I'm placing a hold on the EPA administrator until the Obama administration can provide us with a concrete timeline for progress on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid floodway project."

The proposed project would install pumping stations and close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system.

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